Your Gateway to Toledo and Northwest Ohio History

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Exhibits in Toledo's Attic contain historical (including pictorial) essays by various authors and contributors. Many are contributions of former UT History Professor Timothy Messer-Kruse who spearheaded the Toledo's Attic project in the 1990s and is featured on many Toledo Stories, which you can watch on WGTE. The thematic arrangement of these exhibits represent various areas in Toledo and regional history. Use the Article Index to explore exhibits organized according to themes.

Explore the various exhibits and collections through the themes listed on the right. Each exhibit begins with the gallery, followed by the story (an essay, historical sketch, or other texts) providing the social historical context for those images.  Where provided, "See also..." points you to related collections, websites, or other content.

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Dig into some Toledo's Attic data: Voyant Tools is a data visualization tool for deeper historical study and analysis. 



Historic St. Patrick's Church

This is a brief history, in both pictures and text, of the creation and renovation of the Historic St. Patrick's Church of Toledo. Archival footage courtesy of The Historic Church of St. Patrick's and the Toledo Lucas County Public Library. Special thanks to Mike Cora of the Toledo Lucas County Public Library and Deacon Thomas Carone of Historic Church of St. Patrick. [Exhibit link]

Old West End Tour

The Old West End neighborhood is one of the largest collections of Victorian, Edwardian, and Arts and Crafts homes in the United States, and serves as a showcase of architectural styles popular with Americans around the turn of the century. The Old West End is a 'living' monument to the style, grace, and beauty of fine architecture, quality craftsmanship, and, yes, even exquisite opulence. Wealthy industrialists benefited from Toledo's prime Great Lakes trading location, bountiful agricultural production, and riverside factory and warehouse operations. Their great wealth was evident in the suburban homes they built for their families in the area that would later become the Old West End, nestled in the heart of metropolitan Toledo. [Exhibit link]

Toledo Properties Nominated for the National Register of Historic Places

Lucas County and the city of Toledo have a number of structures listed on the register, but hundreds more have been nominated over the years and not been approved for the list. These nominations are a rich source for local history, as they contain detailed descriptions of buildings, some of them since demolished, as well as brief histories of their origins, builders, and prominent occupants. [Exhibit link]

Walking Tour of the University of Toledo Main Campus

"...We believe you are going to respond to the challenge of a beautiful environment, that the traditions which have grown up about this noble architecture will stimulate you to greater efforts in learning, and to finer decorum, and to a deeper resolve to use your education to further truth, justice and beauty. This is our faith in you." UT President Henry J. Doermann, 1931, on the University's move to the new campus on Bancroft Street. [Exhibit Link]


Paul Laurence Dunbar

Paul Laurence Dunbar was a young man who witnessed firsthand the fruits of struggle. His father escaped slavery in Kentucky and made his way to Canada through Ohio, and then returned to fight with a Massachusetts regiment against the system that had held him in bondage. His mother fled the memory of her own captivity at the end of the Civil War. From them and others, Dunbar knew the value of action and dreams. [Exhibit link]

John Gunckel: The Newsboy's Friend 

Each December, members of Toledo’s Old Newsboys Goodfellow Association are seen throughout Northwest Ohio as they conduct their annual charity paper sale. Many people recognize their familiar canvas newspaper bags and homemade donation buckets, but few actually know the story behind the origins of one of Toledo’s 100% charities. [Exhibit link]

The Life and Writings of Samuel M. Jones

Samuel Milton "Golden Rule" Jones was nominated for mayor of Toledo at a tumultuous Republican convention on February 25, 1897. That day would usher in a nearly two decade period of reform government in the city and would propel Mayor Jones to national, and even international fame. [Exhibit Link]

Gustavus Ohlinger: A Man of the World

Gustavus Ohlinger was born into extraordinary circumstance. His parents, Franklin and Bertha Ohlinger, served as missionaries in Foochow, China. It was in Foochow on July 15,1877, that Gustavus was born to his Methodist missionary parents more than seventy five hundred miles from where he came to rest. Perhaps it was just the mere fact of being born so far from the country of his parents that led Gustavus Ohlinger to travel the world, practice federal law, author books, serve in the United States Army, and lecture at the Universities of Toledo and Michigan. [Exhibit link]

Barney Oldfield

Barney Oldfield was born in a farmhouse on the outskirts of Wauseon, Ohio. In 1889, when he was 11 years old, he moved with his family to Toledo. By 1904, Oldfield was America's most famous race car driver, owning the most track wins and virtually all the world's track speed records. Until 1913, during the peak of his career and popularity, Oldfield called Toledo home. [Exhibit link]

Alanson Wood: Toledo's Forgotten Inventor

Toledo has had more than its share of inventors. Some are well remembered - Michael Owens, inventor of the automated glass-blowing machine, and Allen DeVilbiss, inventor of the spray atomizer, both of have schools named after them. The fame and fortunes of many of the familiar names of Toledo - Libbey, Miniger, Stranahan, Ross, Spicer, Dana, Doehler, were built on a foundation of technological innovation. [Exhibit link]

The Strangest Jobs of Toledoans

This series of articles from the Toledo Blade of 1927 and 1928 that profiles the 'out-of-the-ordinary work of Toledo wage earners,' including that of Frank Barey whose job it was to pick the bullets out of the beans before roasting at one of Toledo's coffee plants.[Exhibit link]

Toledo Civic Hall of Fame

Mayor Carty Finkbeiner began the Toledo Civic Hall of Fame in 1998. The Mayor appointed a nine-member commission to select four to eight people who had died at least two years prior and made major sustainable contributions to northwest Ohio outside of their profession. Out of 162 initial nominees, eight were chosen and formally recognized on January 21, 1988 at the 105th annual meeting of the Toledo Area Chamber of Commerce. The mayor praised the inductees "for our survival in difficult times and for our prosperity in good times". Since then, the Civic Hall of Fame Commission has sought nominees from the public and chosen four to eight inductees every year. Each is honored with a plaque in the Local History and Genealogy Department of the Main Lucas County Public Library in downtown Toledo. [Exhibit link]

Necrology of Toledo's Woodlawn Cemetery

Historic Woodlawn Cemetery was recognized as a National Historic site in 1998. The overall landscape design, which follows the principles of the rural cemetery movement, is a significant feature of the district and has been counted as a site. Woodlawn Cemetery has maintained its integrity as a fine example of the "rural cemetery" plan. The rural cemetery incorporates the natural beauty of the landscape with carefully planned lots, and this is what the founders of Woodlawn Cemetery had in mind when they chose the present site. The cemetery association has been careful to maintain the natural landscape and high quality grave markers. Kirk Holdcroft, current Director of the cemetery (1993) and President of the Board of Trustees (1994), is committed to ensuring the cemetery continues in this tradition. [Exhibit link]

Commercial and Industrial History

1908: The Beginning of the Ford-Willys Rivalry

1908 was a pivotal year in the history of the American automobile. Events such as the introduction of the Model T Ford, the automobile that revolutionized the manufacture of the automobile and most mass marketed goods. [Exhibit link]

A Century of Toledo Scale

Among the most recognized brand names of the twentieth century is Toledo Scale, a company whose headquarters and primary design and production facilities were located in its namesake. One of the greatest achievements of the Toledo's Attic Committee (especially its point man for collections, Ernest W. Weaver, Jr.) during 1998 was securing possession of the corporate papers of Toledo Scale from the Mettler Toledo Corporation. Along with many cases of documents, ledgers, photographs, and other archival materials, the Toledo Scale Collection includes a series of paintings by Georges LaChance of the skilled artisans of the company. [Exhibit link]

Faces of Steel: People and History of Acklin Stamping Plant, Toledo Ohio

The story of Acklin Stamping, and really the story of Toledo's  metal working  industry, begins in 1911.  The world was a radically different place in those days.  Brand Whitlock, as Toledo's mayor, led a rapidly growing city of 170,000 people.   The city and indeed the country were on the cusp of incredible technological change.  In 1911, horses still dominated transportation and the speed limit was a mere 8 miles per hour.  However this was all about to change in the next several years with the arrival of affordable automobiles, brought to the market by a number of companies including Toledo's own Willys-Overland Motor Company. [Exhibit link]

Glass from the Past: An Exhibition of Collectable Glass at the Wolcott House

The Lucas County-Maumee Valley Historical Society is proud to display its collection of historic and antique glass beginning April 4, 2001 at the Wolcott House Museum Complex, 1031 River Road, Maumee, Ohio. This exhibit will be open Wednesdays through Sundays from 1 to 4 pm. Admission is $3.50 for adults and $1.50 for students. Toledo's association with the glass industry dates to the 1890s when a plentiful supply of natural gas, fine sands, good transportation connections, and a vibrant urban culture lured one of the largest makers of fine glass, the Libbey Company, to the city. Over the next generation numerous smaller glass firms would open in the city and Libbey would found a number of others that would specialize in bottles, automotive glass, and architectural glass. [Exhibit link

Greater Toledo: The City in the World

This virtual exhibition presents the exhibits included in the exhibition held at the Ward M. Canaday Center for Special Collections at the University of Toledo Libraries.  The exhibition focuwed on the importan place and role of Toledo in the global economic landscape. [Exhibit link]

Harris Toy Company

We remember the Harris Toy Company, one of the most outstanding manufacturers of cast metal toys. Located in Toledo from its inception in 1887 to its purchase by Foster Jewell (later Standard Steel Tube Co.) in 1907, Harris Toys are still highly sought after by collectors and recognized for their quality and unique styles. [PDF Document: Harris Toy Company]

Owens-Illinois Historical Records

The Ward M. Canaday Center for Special Collections at the University of Toledo has recently received a collection of records and artifacts from the Owens-Illinois company. This large collection includes business documents, bottle catalogs, photographs, films, books, patents, stock certificates, company newsletters, press releases and two collections of actual bottles. It also includes some rare personal letters from Michael J. Owens. [Exhibit link]

Time in a Bottle: A History of Owens-Illinois, Inc.

It was called the most significant advance in the production of glass in 2000 years. It has been designated as an international historic engineering landmark by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.  Engineers. In 1913, it received a commendation from the National Child Labor Committee of New York City for reducing the need for child labor. It made possible the modern distribution of many processed foods at greatly reduced costs. It provided a cheap and safe method for storing and transporting prescription medicine. Without it, some of the country's major corporations, like Coca-Cola, might not have been possible. And without it, Toledo would not have been the "Glass Capital of the World." [Exhibit link]

The Birth of Toledo's Auto Industry: Part One, 1899-1905

Toledo has had a long and continuous automotive history. For Toledo, the year 200 will not only mark the great roll-over of the millennial odometer, but will also be the centennial year of automobile production in the city. In the fall of 1900, the American Bicycle Company built a steam truck in a factory on Central Avenue. From that time with only a few interruptions, notably in the panic of 1907 and the Great Depression, automobiles and trucks have been built upon this same site to the present day. [Exhibit link]

Toledo's Gendron Wheel Company

Toledo, thanks to Peter Gendron, has become prominent throughout the world for its development of the manufacture of metal wheels and for the quantity and quality of its output of that class of products. Mr. Gendron came to the city at the age of twenty-one and found employment as a pattern maker in the Toledo Novelty Works, then conducted by Russell & Thayer. In 1871, he went to Detroit as a pattern maker for the Detroit Safe Company. As a boy, he had worked in his father's wagon shop and while in Detroit he conceived the idea of a wire wheel. In 1875, he returned to Toledo and perfected his invention, first using the wire wheel on children's carriages. [Exhibit link]

From Bicycles to Furniture: A Brief Historical Sketch of the Toledo Metal Furniture Company’s First Decade

Toledo Metal Furniture Company occupied an important place in Toledo’s industrial history that most associate with glass today.  Businesses like Acklin Stamping, American Bicycle Company, Gendron Wheel Company, Harris Toy Company, Toledo Scale, and others paint a more diversified industrial picture building on a strong American Steel industry (albeit surviving the steel shortage during World War I.) and the full throttle of the capitalist economic system. [Exhibit link]

Wholly Toledo: The Business and Industry that Shaped the City

The "Wholly Toledo: The Business and Industry that Shaped the City" virtual exhibit conveys in digital format the actual exhibit that was on display in the Ward M. Canaday Center for Special Collections from November 17, 2010 to November 4, 2011. The exhibit looks at the city's commercial and industrial history from the 1860s to current day—an era that shifted between prosperity and hardship. [Exhibit link]

Cultural History

Birmingham Days: Life and Times in Toledo's Hungarian Neighborhood

From the beginning, Birmingham's strategic location near the mouth of the Maumee River was attractive to settlers in northwest Ohio. The locale's easy access to Lake Erie, its abundant fresh fish, and its situation under a major migratory bird route made it appealing to Native American tribal groups even before the first Europeans arrived. What was to become the Birmingham neighborhood was inhabited early on by French, German, and Irish farmers who were impressed with the setting's rich, loamy soil. Streets and park names such as Collins, Valentine, and Paine commemorate these early farming settlers.[Exhibit link]

Dunbar and Martin: Printed with the Same Ink

Paul Laurence Dunbar was born in Dayton, Ohio, in 1872 as the son of former slaves. Showing potential from a tender age, Dunbar was the first African American poet to be widely read, especially by the white population, and commented on racial relations at the time through his use of dialect in some poems and traditional writing in others. He was a forerunner in African American writing and set an example for those who would gain success after him. While Dunbar was successful as a novelist, poet, and short story writer, it is his poems that gained him the most acclaim and attention throughout his career. [Exhibit link]

Hines Farm Blues Club

The whole thing started in Frank and Sarah Hines' basement. By the time they built the club itself in 1957, Hines' Farm was already in full swing as a blues center. They had received a state liquor license in the late '40s when they were still operating out of the basement; in fact, they were the first African Americans in Northwest Ohio to have one. Blind Bobby Smith, a Toledo blues guitarist who did session work in the '60s for Stax Records, used to play in their basement in those days. He remembers how the party would start outside, but "after they'd close down outdoors we'd all pile in the basement. In the wintertime he [Frank Hines] just ran it out of the house. It was, you know, everybody talkin' at the same time...passing the bottle around, and Hines wishin' everybody'd get out of there so he could go to bed." [Exhibit link]

Singing Toledo

Every great city has its songs. Some, like Sinatra’s New York, New York, or Tony Bennett’s I Left My Heart in San Francisco evoke images that capture a city’s spirit. Some, like Robert Johnson's Sweet Home Chicago, become a city’s anthem, not so much for what they say about the place, than the way in which they say it. Songs have the power to capture the mood and soul of a city. [Exhibit link]

Toledo Topics: Life at the Top in Jazz Age Toledo

For Toledo industrialists, times could not have been better. For Toledo, as for the nation as a whole, the 1920s were a time of great industrial expansion. In that decade, still driven by coal and steam, Toledo was a major hub in the nation's transportation system. Its fifteen miles of riverfront loaded and unloaded over 4,000 freighters each year. Ti was an automobile center second only to Detroit. Its largest employer, Willys Overland, produced more cars in the 1920s than any other U. S. manufacturer but Ford. Glass was Toledo's other high tech industry. Its glass companies enjoyed a monopoly based on ownership of key patents on numerous production innovations. Toledo firms produced a mountain of glass of their own, but, through control of patent licensing agreements,virtually every piece of glass made in America by any manufacturer returned profits to Toledo companies.[Exhibit link]

Two Toledos

Toledo, Spain has a much longer history than that of its sister city, Toledo, Ohio. Spanish tradition dates the founding of the city to 540 B.C.E., under the original moniker of Toledoth. The city has also been known as Tulaytulah (under Muslim rule) and Toletum (under Roman rule).[Exhibit link]

The Valentine Theatre

In its pioneer decades, Toledo was, not surprisingly, a theatrical backwater. It was not until 1850 that Toledo built a public hall suitable for stage performances and was quickly disappointed to learn that the great singer, Jenny Lind would not travel to Toledo, even for the vast sum of $1,000 a night. By the Civil War Toledo boasted three theaters (Morris Hall, Stickney Hall, and White's Hall). Except for White's Hall, which for a few years in the early 1870s pulled in expensive name acts, none of these were particularly reputable. Stickney Hall was renamed the "Opera House" after the war and included a free drink with the price of admission. By 1875 White's had gone to vaudeville to compete with two new theaters, the Wheeler's Opera House and the Adelphi. However, even the city's workers' growing appetite for regular, inexpensive, ribald fare could not support them all. By the 1890s only Wheeler's and the new People's Theater were still in operation. Toledo's high-brow newspaper, the Blade, complained constantly about the fact that first-rate productions were offered only obsessionally alongside the "trashiest kind of trash", that is, the popular farces and melodramas of the day. [Exhibit link]

Historic Events

Another View of Ohio's Bicentennial

After spending the past few weeks researching Ohio’s Bicentennial, I think I am safe from the courtroom, though perhaps not from someone taking offense. If what I have to say does at points ruffle any feathers, I sincerely apologize and beg that those ruffled understand that no animus or ill-will is intended, and that my apparent lack of sentiment is motivated not by a deficiency of feeling for Ohio (even though it is a clearly established fact that Ohio is to blame for my home-state of Wisconsin losing the upper peninsula to Michigan) but is merely a byproduct of striving to view history in an objective light. [Exhibit link]

Timeline, 1900-1970

This is a re-creation of the timeline first included in the Toledo's Attic site of 1997 but utilizes a timeline module designed for current technologies.  The timeline follows the events fro m1990 through 1970 and links to various exhibits, essays, and other contents in Toledo's Attic.

The Toledo War of 1835-1836

This little known but very important "war" shaped the borders of the states of Michigan and Ohio, with the final outcome granting Toledo, MI and what is now the upper corner of Northwest Ohio to Ohio. Michigan did not leave empty handed, however – the then-territory was granted what is now known as the Upper Peninsula of the state. [Exhibit link]

History of Education in Toledo

Josina Lott and the Lott School

Josina Jones Lott believed that every child, regardless of physical or mental limitations, had ability and could learn. She began Lott Day School in her apartment in September of 1938. Mrs. Lott had seen children turned away from the public schools because parents were told that there was no place for them in the classroom. [Exhibit link]

The Tower's Lengthening Shadow

As a person grows older and taller in stature, the shadow he casts upon the earth grows longer. His impact on the world becomes more profound as he matures and succeeds. The same can be said of a university. The University of Toledo, created 125 years ago, has grown taller in stature and risen in influence. The shadow cast by its tower has lengthened. [Exhibit link]

University Hall, The University of Toledo

University Hall has been an iconic part of the University of Toledo and the City of Toledo since its conception in 1929. The building utilizes collegiate gothic architecture and stands as an inspiration to students to learn and reach for their goals. However, University Hall was not always apart of the University of Toledo. [Exhibit link]

Labor History

The F.B.I. Files of Richard T. Gosser

In the history of labor in Toledo, no figure stands taller than Richard T. Gosser. Gosser's life both spanned and reflected the major trends of labor in the Twentieth Century. Born at the dawn of the century, on Dec. 13, 1900, Gosser ran with a tough crowd in his youth. Toledo in the early 1920s was a wide-open city with open defiance of Prohibition, slot machines blatantly displayed in drug stores, and a red light district that operated under the watchful but winking eye of the local police. [Exhibit link]

Toledo Women in World War II

The Great Depression of the 1930s had thrown America into flux. The American family did not escape unscathed as jobs became scarce. With the continual drop in family incomes, which in turn led to a drop in the birth and marriage rates, the battle over the place of woman in the household and her place in the work force raged. [Exhibit link]

Local Heroes Remembered

Remembering Battery B. The Men Of Battery B: Toledo's Own Battery in World War I

This exhibit displays one World War I-era article in the Toledo Blade and links to two articles in the Toledo Magazine form 1988. [Exhibit link]

Toledo Area Veterans

The Ward M. Canaday Center in Carlson Library at the University of Toledo is fortunate to have the manuscript collection of "Steph" Pecsenye, including numerous "V-mail" letters he sent home during the War. "V-mail" or "Victory Mail" was written by service people on pre-printed envelope sheets supplied by the government. The letters were microfilmed and sent back to the United States where they were printed out on paper and mailed to the addressee. V-mail dramatically reduced the bulk of mail, freeing thousands of tons of shipping space for war materials. [Exhibit link]

A Century of Fire: Toledo's Firefighting History

The Toledo Fire Department dates back to 1837. This exhibit explores the rich and colorful history of the fire department, examining the firefighters, their equipment, and the fires that they fought through newspaper articles, remembrances, fire station documents, and photographs. The earliest known action taken to form the Toledo Fire Department was on May 29, 1837. At this time, City Council selected a committee to determine the cost of two fire engines for the City of Toledo. On September 25, 1837, the firm of Hoisington and Manning was given the contract to build Engine House No. 1 and the following year to build Engine House No. 2. In December of 1837, Council appointed the first officers and fire warden of our new department. [Exhibit link]

War in Their Own Words: Toledo’s Veterans Write Home

The best picture of the realities of war is painted by the words of those who lived it. The Ward M. Canaday Center is honored to hold several collections of veterans’ letters and diaries, and this exhibit will highlight some of these items to give historical wars a fresh perspective, in the soldiers' own words. Featured are letters and diaries from Cyrus Hussey, Alexander Weber, Frank Canaday, Herbert White, Carl Joseph, Steven Pecsenye, and Leo Barlow. Each veteran is listed chronologically by the time period of the war he experienced. [Exhibit link]

Photo Archive

The photo archive consists of eight series: Automobile history, Businesses, Cityscapes, Homes,Industry, Mayors, Strikes, and Toledo Tomorrow.

Postcard Collection


Beaches and Parks

Bridges, Canals, and River Scenes




Cultural Heritage Institutions






Social Institutions

Transportation History

Postcard Puzzles

This activity features the postcard collections in Toledo's Attic. You can slide a tile by clicking (or tapping) it.

Social Institutions

Boys and Girls Clubs of America

The roots of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Toledo can be traced back more than a century to the Toledo Newsboys Association begun by John Gunckel in 1892. [Exhibit link]

The History of the Toledo and Lake Erie Boating and Fishing Association and The Middle Bass Club

The Original Club consisted of the Toledo and Lake Erie Boating and Fishing Association (1874-1894) and the renamed Middle Bass Club (1894-1922).  The prominent Toledo families that started the Original Club and remained members for a number of years include: Barbers, Barbours, Baumgardners, Berdans, Bodmans, Bonds, Burdicks, Childs’s, Collins’s, Coltons, Curtis’s, Cummings, Davis’s, Dodges, Doyles, Goslines, Hamiltons, Hardees, Isherwoods, Kelseys, Ketchams, Lockes, Poes, Potters, Rodgers’s, Shoemakers, Smiths, Standarts, Stars, Stevens, Swaynes, Taylors, Waites and Youngs to name a few. [Exhibit link]

Medicine on the Maumee: A History of Health Care in Northwest Ohio

Clara Church, 8 years old, tetanus, January 29, 1859. Chris Fall, 35 years old, laborer, drinking ice water, May 15, 1860. Avery McCarthy, 19 years old, fits, September 20, 1860. John Ayers, 32 years old, bad whiskey, June 3, 1863. Theodore Hansen, 27 years old, soldier, starved in Rebel prison, April 3, 1865. Ada Meeker, 1 year old, cholera infantum, September 24, 1865. Susanna H. James, housewife, 23 years old, typhoid fever, January 23, 1866. These brief entries recorded in the pages of the Record of Deaths in the City of Toledo are more than just statistics. Individually, they hint at lives tragically cut short. Collectively, they tell the story of life in Toledo in the middle of the 19th century, and help to document the state of medical care (or lack thereof) in the city at the time. [Exhibit link]

Rotary Club of Toledo

The Rotary Club of Toledo was founded on May 3, 1912. The Club, which was the forty-fourth in the world, was initially sponsored by the Detroit Rotary Club. The first Rotary meetings were held at the Toledo Chamber of Commerce, as well as at the Boody House in Toledo. In the first years of its existence, the Toledo Rotary Club helped the Rotary Club grow in Northwest Ohio and Southeastern Michigan, sponsoring new clubs in Lima, OH (1915), Fostoria, OH (1920), Findlay, OH (1920), and Defiance, MI (1920), and Adrian, MI (1921). [Exhibit link]

The Toledo Club 1889-1989

As 1989 was the 100th anniversary of the founding of The Toledo Club, it was felt that it would appropriate to publish a commemorative book.  As the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Club approached, a committee was formed to celebrate the event.  I [Carl N. White] volunteered to write the history book with the intention of distributing copies to all who attended The Toledo Club's 100th Anniversary celebration on September 9, 1989. [Exhibit link]

Toledo Hearing and Speech Center: A Century of Service

The Toledo Hearing and Speech Center served Toledo's deaf and hearing impaired community for nearly a century. Originally founded in 1920 as the Toledo League for the Hard of Hearing, the organization provided hearing tests, sign language lessons, speech therapy and hearing aids until 2014. [Exhibit link]

Toledo Humane Society

The Toledo Humane Society formed on January 29, 1884 and incorporated on February 14, 1884 , following meetings held at the Richard Mott's Home and Toledo Produce Exchange in Downtown Toledo in December of 1883.  A few prominent business and city leaders, including Merchants’ and Manufacturers’ Exchange, met to propose the formation of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children and Animals “to provide for the care and support of innocent children; for the protection of helpless children from the brutal-minded; for the care and comfort of aged parents; for over-worked, underfed and abused horses; and for the protection of all dumb animals.” [Exhibit link]

Toledo Sister City Digital Heritage: A Virtual Exhibition

This virtual exhibition aims to take the sister-city a little further by shifting the focus towards the cultural and intellectual dimensions in the relationships of participating communities. It brings together digitized cultural heritage materials from libraries, museums, and archives in Toledo's sister cities. Some were possible through direct linking to such collections with generous assistance from librarians, archivists, and museum curators in the sister cities. Elsewhere, images from Pinterest and links to local libraries were as far as this exhibition could go, realizing that not all municipalities and their community libraries may have the interest, means, and personnel to prepare digital heritage collections. [Exhibit link]

Toledo State Hospital, 125th Anniversity

January 6, 2013 marked the 125th anniversary of the Toledo State Hospital (TSH), now known as the Northwest Ohio Psychiatric Hospital. The last 125 years have witnessed many changes including various names, buildings that have come and gone, shifting philosophies of insanity, and a variety of treatment methods and applications. Although it has seen many changes, since 1888 the hospital has consistently provided mental health care to patients.[Exihibt link]

Sport History

African Americans in Toledo Sports

From Moses Fleetwood and Welday Walker and the 1883 Toledo Blue Stockings, to the African American sparring partners who helped train Jack Dempsey for his crushing defeat of Jess Willard in 1919, to the various twentieth century football players at the University of Toledo and Toledo high schools, African Americans have played a large part in the athletic successes of Northwest Ohio. This exhibit will highlight some of the great African American athletic pioneers from Northwest Ohio. This is just a small selection of the many athletes who shaped Toledo baseball in the early part the twentieth century. [Exhibit link]

Memories of Semi-Pro Basketball in Toledo: Twisters of 1961-62 and Tartans of 1962-63

As the statistician for Toledo’s minor league professional basketball teams in the early 1960s, I was able to meet some future NBA stars, a few college superstars, several former University of Toledo players, and many other athletes with backgrounds ranging from true gentlemen to dangerous criminals. This essay presents my recollection of the players and teams. [Exhibit link]

Toledo Athletes

The pages that follow are intended to be a comprehensive listing of Toledoans and northwestern Ohioans who have achieved a certain measure of national fame in the world of sports.  The listing is a work in progress and the author welcomes additional information about the people listed (e.g. school attended for those whose information is not provided) or those that should be added to the listings.  The list is divided by sport and each sport is divided into two sections – Toledoans and northwestern Ohioans.  To determine whether someone should be listed requires a determination of what is a Toledoan or someone from northwestern Ohio and what constitutes fame. [Exhibit link]

Toledo Baseball 1880 - Present

The Toledo Mud Hens have had a long and storied history in Northwest Ohio. The club has pushed the color barrier when other teams were trying to exclude African American players, served as training grounds for future Hall of Fame players and managers, and has seen revitalization recently with two consecutive championship seasons. [Exhibit link]

Then and Now: Toledo and Vicinity

1902 Walking Tour

A map-driven walking tour of Toledo in 1902 using original Sanborn maps from 1902 and 1904 as well as Google Street View for virtual tours.  This evolving exhibit will soon include vintage and current photographs, and public input on the identities of establishments is highly welcome. [Exhibit link]

Lost Landmarks: Historic Toledo Buildings That Have Been Demolished or Altered

Toledo, like most modern cities has lost its share of early historic landmarks. This PDF document remembers a few of the most notable that are long gone or altered. Each page offers a turn-of-the-century postcard or view with a photograph that duplicates (as closely as possible) the postcard view. Commercial, industrial, public, residential, natural and recreational sites are featured. This information is based on an exhibit of early postcards presented by the Ward M. Canaday Center in 1993 entitled, "Wish You Were Here!" This exhibit was funded by a grant from the Ohio Humanities Council. A primary resource for the original exhibition's text was William D. Speck's 1983 thesis entitled, "Lost Toledo: A Study of Demolished Architecture in Toledo, Ohio." The Columbia University student of Historic Preservation documented 156 "historically significant" structures that had been destroyed or significantly altered. All of the modern photographs were taken by William Hartough of the University of Toledo's Public Information Office. [Document link]

Talking to Stone: Historical Markers in Toledo

A monument is a curious way to record history. It is the oldest, most ancient form of history writing (what else is a pyramid or a statue but a memorial of some past?) and still remains a popular means of expressing historical ideas. Like the ancients, our society still etches its feats and stories in stone and metal. [Exhibit link]

Virtual Tours through Space and Time

Explore these virtual tours and collections in HistoryPin with past images superimposed on current Google maps.  These tours are based on a series of student projects in the History of Department at the University of Toledo over two decades ago.

HistoryPin Collections


Business and Industry


Historic Registry Locations

Historical Markers

Houses of the Old West End

Images in Toledo's Attic


Leisure and Recreation


Native American

Politics and Government

Public Service




Wish you were here! Toledo's Lost Landmarks

HistoryPin Tours


This portal works like HistoryPin: it allows users to create a profile and submit photos and descriptions to appear over a specific location on the map.  The site defaults to Toledo, but you can add a different location to view user-contributed photos for the location(s) of your choice.  As of now, there are 386 images.  [Site link:]

Related Exhibits

Toledo Properties Nominated for the National Register of Historic Places (Architecture)

Lucas County and the city of Toledo have a number of structures listed on the register, but hundreds more have been nominated over the years and not been approved for the list. These nominations are a rich source for local history, as they contain detailed descriptions of buildings, some of them since demolished, as well as brief histories of their origins, builders, and prominent occupants. [Exhibit link]

Transportation History

Col. James M. Schoonmaker

Toledo’s history and the history of commerce on the Great Lakes has been intertwined since the city’s inception. Toledo’s position on the Maumee River at the western end of Lake Erie has made it one of the busiest ports on the Great Lakes. It is fitting then that Toledo is home to the National Museum of the Great Lakes which includes the museum ship Col. James M. Schoonmaker. [Exhibit link]

Nasby Interlocking Tower

Nasby Tower was at the intersection of the Toledo Terminal Railroad (TTRR) and the east-west Conrail main line. The tower controlled the TTRR crossing, several tracks into the west end of the old Air Line Yard (now an intermodal terminal), a branch main to Detroit, a long siding to the west, and crossovers between the mains. The second floor was where the action was. The first floor was filled with wiring, relays, and back-up batteries. [Exhibit link]

S. S. Willis B. Boyer

In the shadow of the downtown Toledo skyline, moored alongside the rolling landscape of International Park, a splash of history and romance awaits you on the S.S. Willis B. Boyer. Careful, authentic restoration has made the ship come alive! Memorabilia, photography, and artifacts maintained and displayed by the Western Lake Erie Historical Society are all part of this nautical museum. The Boyer offers to all who visit the unique opportunity to experience the shipping lifestyle in a hands-on setting. As one of a few of its kind remaining, the Boyer will charm and intrigue you with its vastness, fascinating engineering design, and beautiful interior. [Exhibit link]

NOTE: The S. S. Willis B. Boyer has been renamed the Col. James M. Schoonmaker.  A more recent exhibit is accessible above.

Women in Toledo and Northwest Ohio History

Our Club Magazine for Working Girls

Toledo working women banded together in the early twentieth century for support and camaraderie. Our Club Girls Magazine stood for the "social and commercial education of young wage-earning women." Experience life for young working women through its pages. This exhibit is drawn from four issues of Our Girls Club Magazine, published in 1913 and 1914. The magazines are held in the Canaday Center of the University of Toledo's Carlson Library. No other known issues exist. If you have any copies of Our Girl's Club in your attic, please let us know! [Exhibit link]

Related exhibits

Josina Lott and the Lott School (History of Education in Toledo)

Josina Jones Lott believed that every child, regardless of physical or mental limitations, had ability and could learn. She began Lott Day School in her apartment in September of 1938. Mrs. Lott had seen children turned away from the public schools because parents were told that there was no place for them in the classroom. [Exhibit link]

Toledo Area Veterans (Local Heroes Remembered)

The Ward M. Canaday Center in Carlson Library at the University of Toledo is fortunate to have the manuscript collection of "Steph" Pecsenye, including numerous "V-mail" letters he sent home during the War. "V-mail" or "Victory Mail" was written by service people on pre-printed envelope sheets supplied by the government. The letters were microfilmed and sent back to the United States where they were printed out on paper and mailed to the addressee. V-mail dramatically reduced the bulk of mail, freeing thousands of tons of shipping space for war materials. [Exhibit link]

Toledo Women in World War II (Labor History)

The Great Depression of the 1930s had thrown America into flux. The American family did not escape unscathed as jobs became scarce. With the continual drop in family incomes, which in turn led to a drop in the birth and marriage rates, the battle over the place of woman in the household and her place in the work force raged. [Exhibit link]

Exhibits Anonymous

Exhibits Anonymous [under re/construction] - a new (and original) public history project to identify people, places, and events on undescribed photographs.